By Victor Ocheing
Racism is a scourge that’s making the lives of its victims quite miserable. In many cases, Africans have been the biggest casualties when it comes to racism, whether in the United States, Europe or Asia.
Racism against Africans in China has never been so pronounced, more so because the country has for years been mono-ethnic. Things, however, changed after the Chinese expanded their business activities in Africa. This triggered increased migration to China by Africans and vice versa. Unfortunately, though, many Africans who’ve visited China contend that they experienced racial discrimination of some sort. This is more so for those who stayed longer.
A Nigerian living in Guangzhou, China, asked why Chinese people are so racist in China when they’re welcomed in his home country of Nigeria.
This was after Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden, the two figures behind the China Africa Project and the hosts of the famous China in Africa Podcast, offered to answer questions on the issue.
In their answer, the duo first acknowledged how devastating being a victim of racism or prejudice is. They then pointed out that, although Blacks are more on the receiving end, they aren’t the only victims of racism.
To break it down, they said because China has a mainly mono-ethnic culture, many of them have never interacted with people of other races and are more aware of these races through the media, including movies.
Moreover, Chinese people have for years held the belief that they’re the most superior people and race. In fact, even “China,” pronounced in Chinese as “zhong guo,” means “Middle Kingdom,” which, in plain English, basically means “The Center of the Universe.”
The China in Africa Podcast hosts even gave an example of a Chinese lady who feared Black people in general. Asked whether she’d interacted with any Black person to have developed that kind of fear, she said “no.”
So, why did she have that fear?
She pointed out that it was because of how Black people are depicted in American movies, where Black people are portrayed as violent-loving and heartless monsters.
“I know what I see from the movies and I just don’t want to take any chances,” she explained.
To wrap it all up, they pointed out that, although there are racist Chinese people in China, just like there are racists everywhere, there is also a good number of Chinese people in the country who’re struggling to come to terms with the new multicultural environment that’s fast developing in their country.
The bottom line is: As multicultural migration into China and Chinese migration to multicultural countries continues, some of the myths about Black people are slowly being diffused.